South Scotland

Dandie Dinmont breed's 'founding father' celebrated

Dandie Dinmonts Image copyright Kevin Greenfield
Image caption A Dandie Dinmont tartan fashion show is part of the three-day event

The 175th anniversary of the birth of the modern-day father of one of the world's rarest dog breeds is being celebrated in the Scottish Borders.

Every Dandie Dinmont terrier can trace its ancestry back to Old Ginger, born on Selkirk's Haining estate in 1842.

Owners of the breed - named after a Sir Walter Scott character - are expected to attend from around the world.

The celebrations will include the unveiling of a statue of Old Ginger next to the kennels he was born in.

Despite the fact that just 316 Dandie Dinmonts were born around the world last year - more than 200 guests from 14 different countries are expected for the three-day event.

Image caption Owners and their dogs are expected from around the world

The bronze statue - designed by Alexander "Sandy" Stoddart, the Queen's Sculptor for Scotland - will be unveiled on Sunday.

It was crowdfunded by breed enthusiasts while the Kennel Club provided funding to turn Old Ginger's kennels into a Dandie Dinmont discovery centre.

Events kick off on Friday with a Dandie Dinmont tartan fashion show and are followed on Saturday by a gathering of more than 100 dogs and their owners.

Then Sunday will see the opening of the discovery centre and unveiling of the statue.

One of the organisers, Paul Keevil, said it promised to be a special few days for the breed with some exciting events.

'Desperately endangered'

"It is the world's first ever fashion show for a single breed of dog," he said.

"We have a Dandie Dinmont terrier tartan fashion show because we are the only breed of dog allowed to wear a clan tartan."

It is hoped the event can raise the profile of the breed which remains "desperately endangered".

"It's a combination of factors," explained Mr Keevil. "The almost unstoppable rise of the poodle cross-breeds - anything which has the word 'doodle' or 'poo' in it - they are now hugely popular.

"The continental breeds are massively popular and fashion has deemed that maybe the old-fashioned working breeds are just out of favour."

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